Bible Commentaries
Matthew 28

Hawker's Poor Man's CommentaryPoor Man's Commentary

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Verse 1


In this close of the Gospel according to Matthew, we have the wonderful Relation of Christ's Resurrection. The Lord's several Appearances to the Women and his Disciples: Christ's Commission to his Disciples, to preach his Gospel and baptize.

Verses 1-8

"In the end of the sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, came Mary Magdalene and the other Mary to see the sepulchre. (2) And, behold, there was a great earthquake: for the angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat upon it. (3) His countenance was like lightning, and his raiment white as snow: (4) And for fear of him the keepers did shake, and became as dead men. (5) And the angel answered and said unto the women, Fear not ye: for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified. (6) He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay. (7) And go quickly, and tell his disciples that he is risen from the dead; and, behold, he goeth before you into Galilee; there shall ye see him: lo, I have told you. (8) And they departed quickly from the sepulchre with fear and great joy; and did run to bring his disciples word."

It is truly blessed to see, how everything tended in proof to bring forward to the Church the evidences of our Lord's resurrection. The Prophets with one voice had predicted the event, which, until then, had never been heard of: and now the Evangelists come forward to attest the wonderful accomplishment. Isaiah had spoken of it. Isaiah 26:19 . Ezekiel had delivered by command a vision of it. Ezekiel 37:0 . And Jonah, the Lord himself declared to be a type of it. Matthew 12:38-40 .

And behold how minute the circumstances are to the confirmation of it. The morning was ushered in with the most portentous signs of it. While the godly women came at the dawn of day to visit the sepulchre; with the intention, as was the then custom, to embalm the body of our Lord: behold there was a great earthquake. An Angel from heaven came and rolled away the great stone from the door of the sepulchre. Reader! it must be the work of God, not simply to roll away, but to take out the stony heart from sinners, and to give an heart of flesh. And this God hath promised, and God doth perform, in the whole of his redeemed family. Ezekiel 36:26 . Let us pause over this account. Behold as an Angel from above came down to celebrate the triumph of the Lord Jesus in our nature over death and the grave; so the dead from beneath came up to hail the glorious event, and both met together! Oh! the triumphs of the resurrection! No wonder the Roman soldiers became as dead men. And no wonder the lovers of Jesus should rejoice who came to seek Christ. Reader! do not fail to observe, how very different the same things operate upon different minds. While the graceless tremble, the gracious will rejoice.

Verses 9-10

"And as they went to tell his disciples, behold, Jesus met them, saying, All hail. And they came and held him by the feet, and worshipped him. (10) Then said Jesus unto them, Be not afraid: go tell my brethren that they go into Galilee, and there shall they see me."

Oh! what a joyful meeting was here. And is it not so frequently in life? Doth not Jesus meet and bless his people, even when at times he is least expected? Oh! did I but always keep in remembrance how near Jesus is, and looking on; what blessed enjoyments I should have which are now overlooked and forgotten, by my poor forgetful heart.

I must not omit calling the Reader's attention, to that gracious trait of character in our Lord, when sending the women to his disciples that they might inform them of the great event; he calls them brethren. One of the sacred Writers saith, that Jesus is not ashamed to call them brethren. Hebrews 2:11 . And what endears it more particularly at this time was, that now he was about to enter into his glory. So that, if a child of God, any poor afflicted one of the Lord's family was tempted by the enemy, or by the corruptions and unbelief of his own heart, to question whether any change towards his people here below, had taken place in the heart of Jesus, after he arose from the dead; this silenceth at once every fear. For the very first message he sent to his disciples after his resurrection was, Go, tell my brethren. And, to manifest the nearness and dearness of affection, into which Jesus had brought his whole Church, both to himself and Father, he said to Mary; Go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father and your father; and to my God and your God. John 20:17 . Oh! what a lovely view of our all-lovely and all-loving Jesus!

Verses 11-15

"Now when they were going, behold, some of the watch came into the city, and showed unto the chief priests all the things that were done. (12) And when they were assembled with the elders, and had taken counsel, they gave large money unto the soldiers, (13) Saying, Say ye, His disciples came by night, and stole him away while we slept. (14) And if this come to the governor's ears, we will persuade him, and secure you. (15) So they took the money, and did as they were taught: and this saying is commonly reported among the Jews until this day."

I refer the Reader to what was observed in the preceding Chapter, on the subject of those verses. See Matthew 27:62 to the end.

Verses 16-17

"Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, into a mountain where Jesus had appointed them. (17) And when they saw him, they worshipped him: but some doubted."

The only circumstance here of note to be attended to is, what is said that some doubted. What some? We read of no more but the eleven disciples being present, and how many can be supposed to be included in the phrase of some doubting? And what is to be understood by the doubting of any? Not surely that Christ was risen from the dead. For this interview at the mountain Jesus had appointed them, must have been some days after the day of our Lord's resurrection during which time they had all seen Christ and all had had testimonies upon testimonies of the certainty of it. The unbelief of Thomas had been removed before this, and which was eight days, or rather the eighth day, from the day of Christ's resurrection. John 20:26 . The doubting here spoken of, therefore can mean no more; than, that notwithstanding this meeting in Galilee was by the Lord's own appointment, (see Mark 14:28 . and Mark 16:7 .) and the whole eleven had seen Christ before (John 20:26 .); yet, now again, some of them for the moment doubted the reality of what they saw, overcome with holy joy and surprize, and supposing, as upon the former occasion, that they had seen a spirit when they cried out for fear, Luke 24:37 . This must be the meaning of the phrase.

They beheld the Lord Jesus with the rest; and they had before received ample proof of his resurrection from the dead; but when Jesus appeared and the greater part immediately worshipped him with divine adoration, some were so struck with consternation as to appear like men in a state of suspense.

Verses 18-20

"And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. (19) Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: (20) Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen."

How truly gracious were the actions and words of Jesus both to the strong and weak in faith, to confirm the one, and to remove all fears from the other! All power is given unto me in heaven and in, earth. All power, as the supreme, universal, and eternal monarch of heaven and of earth. And this Jesus, as the Son of God, from his own essential nature and Godhead, possessed in common with the Father and Holy Ghost from all eternity. But the power Jesus speaks of in this place, as given unto him, is as Mediator, God-Man, the Head of his body the Church that he should give, as he elsewhere said, eternal life to as many as were given him. John 17:2 .

And hence he now issues his commission as the glorious Head of his body the Church, and bids them go forth to teach and baptize. And, as if to impress his whole Church, with the glorious truth that salvation is the joint gift, and flowing from the joint love and mercy, of the three Almighty persons in the Godhead, which are one; Jesus enjoins the baptism of his people in their joint name, and as dedicated to their joint service, love, adoration, and praise. And lo! saith Jesus, as finally closing his commission with an assurance of his unceasing and everlasting presence; lo! I am with you alway even unto the end of the world. Which is not meant to say that the Lord's presence was to be with the disciples of Jesus merely to the end of their ministry, or their successors in his service; but forever in the eternal world; here in grace and hereafter in glory. His perpetual presence securing their persons, defending their cause, rendering the whole of their labors effectual here upon earth, in bringing home his Church and people, and accomplishing the whole purposes of his salvation, in all the individual instances of it, for whom the whole was ordained in the ancient settlements of eternity, and bringing them all safe home to the everlasting abodes of glory.

And by way of seal to the truth, one of the names of Christ is added, Amen. All the promises in him are yea, and in him Amen. He is the Amen: the faithful and true witness. And this is the security. That he who blesseth himself in the earth, shall bless himself in the Amen; the God of truth, and he that sweareth in the earth shall swear by the Amen, the God of truth. See 2 Corinthians 1:20 ; Revelation 3:14 ; Isaiah 65:16 . See Poor Man's Concordance, Amen.

Reader! the Lord give to you and to me grace, to mark Christ's name on this precious Gospel. And may the Lord himself write his Amen on our hearts. Isaiah 51:6 ; Revelation 3:12-13 .

Verse 20


OH! for grace to receive and believe the record God hath given of his dear Son. Surely, the Lord hath furnished for his people, every evidence that God can give or man receive, to the truth of the resurrection of Jesus. By signs in heaven from above; and wonders in the earth beneath, was my Lord's triumph over death, hell, and the grave manifested. Every witness calls upon me, like the Angels to the women at the sepulchre; Come! see the place where the Lord lay. Yes! I would answer. My soul desires to take the wing of faith, and light down at the memorable sepulcher, and see the sacred spot! Yes! I would flee there, but, not stay there, but hasten to look upwards after a risen and ascended Savior! Yea! I would seek grace to pursue my researches after Jesus, until I beheld him in that bosom of Jehovah, where he hath lain from all eternity!

And now my honored Lord! my soul would lay low at thy footstool, and hail thee Lord of heaven and earth! Glorious, gracious, Almighty Head of thy Church and People! It is for thee to send forth thy servants, to call thy sons from far and thy daughters from the ends of the earth! Thy kingdom of grace shall be established until thou hast brought home all thy ransomed to thy kingdom of glory. Not one shall be left behind: but shall be brought under the baptisms of thy Spirit to the joint praise and honor of the holy Three in One, Father Son, and Holy Ghost. Lord! hasten thy gracious purposes; and confirm the sacred promises of thy will.

Farewell Matthew, faithful recorder of my Lord's history! Thanks to God the Holy Ghost, for thy services in his Church in those written memorials of the conception, incarnation, birth, baptism, fastings, temptations, ministry, miracles, parables, prophecies, agonies, conflicts, sufferings, death, resurrection, and return to glory, of our Lord Jesus Christ! Blessed be my God and Saviour, in calling thee from the receipt of custom to be an Evangelist! Oh! may the ministry of thy word be made blessed to my soul, and to the souls of thousands. And then as thou broughtest home the Lord Jesus to thine house, and then madest him a feast with publicans and sinners; so ere long Jesus will take thee and me, and all his redeemed home, to the marriage supper of the Lamb in heaven; and feast our ravished souls, with the enjoyment of himself; and in him and through him, the whole persons of the Godhead in one unceasing banquet of holy joy forevermore. Amen and Amen.

Bibliographical Information
Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Matthew 28". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". 1828.